The EU Strategy for the Danube Region: What Potential Contribution to Regional Stability and Co-operation?
The European Union Strategy for the Danube Region is a recent initiative that aims to enhance sub-regional co-operation through collaboration on a series of cross-border projects. In this paper, I present an analysis of the strategy’s preparation and consultation stages in order to assess the extent to which it incorporates an effective external dimension, capable of enhancing regional stability and co-operation. In order to identify a set of common indicators that are indicative of successful sub-regional policy, I begin my research with an analysis of three existing sub-regional frameworks: the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, the Northern Dimension and the Black Sea Economic Co-operation. On the basis of this analysis, I identify indicators of successful sub-regional policy as: equal partnership, joint ownership, diverse stakeholder involvement, adequate funding and institutional capacity, strong level of commitment and common interests and objectives. When applied to the external dimension of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region, the indicators reveal several weaknesses that may serve to reduce the strategy’s overall effectiveness. By identifying areas for improvement, this research aims to make a contribution to progressive sub-regional policy, while providing a comprehensive case study that may be subject to analysis within a broader theoretical framework.